Cleantech Östergötland

The Modern Wooden City – Wooden Buildings for a Smaller Carbon Footprint

The municipality of Växjö is a prime example of Swedish timber construction, with at least 50% of new buildings being built from wood as of 2020. Visit Växjö to see how and why wood is the way to increased sustainability.

Växjö municipality has long promoted timber construction. In recent years, this has been developed into a general strategy, known as The Modern Wooden City, to reduce Växjö’s carbon footprint. The idea is to use wood as the main construction material, as it is the only completely renewable material. There are other cities in Sweden employing similar strategies, but Växjö is furthest ahead, aiming for at least 50% wood-based new buildings in Växjö from 2020. Växjö’s approach encompasses residential, commercial and infrastructure made from wood.

Global leader in timber construction

In the past, fire safety requirements prohibited buildings taller than two storeys from being constructed from wood, but the transition to a performance-based system has made Sweden a global leader in wooden construction. Sweden is also forging ahead in digitalisation, prefabricated construction, automation and robotisation in this field. Digitalisation of information flows in the construction process leads to higher efficiency and quality.

Cross-laminated timber is another area where new business models and construction systems are helping. Sweden is a leader in this area too, particularly in fields such as moisture protection and fire safety for wood as a construction material.

Benefits of modules and prefabrication

Modular construction is well suited to prefabrication, which is also more scalable than traditional construction. There are several companies based near Växjö producing houses and buildings in wood, such as Eksjöhus, Hjältevadshus, Obos and Vida. The region is also home to numerous innovative small and medium-sized companies active in timber construction. The proximity and close collaboration between the municipality, society and industry is a key success factor in Växjö, facilitating the process from urban planning to innovation and industrial investment.

World-leading innovation

Smart Housing Småland (SHS) is an innovation environment based in Växjö that aims to foster innovation and growth within wood and glass construction. SHS is led by the Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE) and supported by Vinnova, universities and a number of regional organisations. Much of the work at SHS is related to The Modern Wooden City, such as test beds, construction projects, new technology and research projects. One example is the digitalisation of the construction inspection process, to improve quality assurance and create more robust buildings.

Another example is the use of virtual reality to test ‘auralisation’ techniques, allowing clients to try different materials and products, for instance to see how well a window will reduce noise. Conceptual studies are also underway for buildings taller than 20 stories to solve challenges in structural engineering, fire safety and acoustics. An important factor is for all testing of innovations and products to include digitalisation and circular economy performance.

Limnologen residential buildings

The Limnologen apartment buildings in the Modern Wooden City consist of four eight-storey buildings that were the tallest wooden constructions in Sweden when they were completed. The new residential project Trummens Strand will be the largest wooden housing project, comprising more than 6,000 cubic metres of wood and eight stories in the tallest buildings.


Similar Best Practices

The Tricot factory – Timber on top to create a modern and sustainable office building

The Tricot factory – Timber on top to create a modern and sustainable office building

It is smart to use a circular business model where you can use existing buildings to create new buildings. Wood as a renewable building material plays a key role when existing buildings get new life with the help of wooden extensions.

The Multi Activity House – Sports, Activities, and Culture Under One Roof

The Multi Activity House – Sports, Activities, and Culture Under One Roof

A project is underway in the far north of Sweden to move and relocate the entire city of Gällivare. Public buildings are being replaced, creating a need for innovative, multi-purpose properties. The multi-activity building in the city centre will bring sport, activities and culture under one roof.

The New District of Brunnshög – a Future to Believe in

The New District of Brunnshög – a Future to Believe in

Everyone’s talking about a smarter, more sustainable future. This is taking shape in Brunnshög in southern Sweden. And it’s being created around the people who will live there, focusing on their future needs.

Villazero – Building for the Future

Villazero – Building for the Future

Villazero is a development project run by Fiskarhedenvillan, Mondo Arkitekter and Structor Byggteknik Dalarna, together with support from Region Dalarna. The project’s purpose is to build a carbon-neutral detached house in Borlänge. It’s a unique opportunity to learn how to build zero-CO2 houses for a more sustainable future.

Hoppet – Sweden’s first fossil-free preschool

Hoppet – Sweden’s first fossil-free preschool

When Hoppet preschool in Gothenburg was due to be built, the City of Gothenburg wanted to set a challenge for the construction industry and encourage change. The city wanted the preschool to be built completely fossil free, with no carbon emissions throughout the building’s entire life cycle from construction to its future use.

Tvärpilen – a Small Residential Area, Big on Sustainability

Tvärpilen – a Small Residential Area, Big on Sustainability

The village of Kivik in south-east Sweden is where you’ll find the new residential area Tvärpilen, which combines beauty, sustainability and responsibility in perfect harmony.

Site East –  a Climate-Neutral Construction Site

Site East – a Climate-Neutral Construction Site

At Skellefteå Site East, close to Northvolt’s factory, one of the world’s most sustainable development projects has been conducted. Maximising the cutting-edge know-how of both Skellefteå Municipality and external partners, Site East is a source of inspiration for the industry. It has the boldness to adopt new approaches to sustainability and work with contractors towards a common vision.

Wood Safari – Experience how Creative Wood Ideas Turns in to Sustainable Living Environments

Wood Safari – Experience how Creative Wood Ideas Turns in to Sustainable Living Environments

Advances in timber construction are attracting more and more attention from contractors and architects, who are discovering the benefits of using wood as a building material. In Skellefteå, you can experience a ‘wood safari’ to learn how creative ideas produce low-carbon, attractive living environments.

Blue Green City Lab Evaluates Sustainable Solutions

Blue Green City Lab Evaluates Sustainable Solutions

At times of more extreme weather caused by climate change, the downside of dense cities with few green spaces and more paved surfaces is evident; extreme heat, flooding and reduced biodiversity. Blue Green City Lab is a test bed that evaluates new and proven ‘blue-green’ solutions to mitigate these effects.

Social and Environmental Investment in Vårsången: a Good Deal for Everyone

Social and Environmental Investment in Vårsången: a Good Deal for Everyone

The renovation of the rundown area of Vårsången in Malmö has generated many positive effects. People previously moved to Vårsången because of a lack of other options. Today, they move there because it’s an attractive district where residents want to live. This has increased property values significantly, proving that social and environmental investment is a good deal in the long run.

Ohboy, the Bicycle House – Built for a Sustainable, Cost-Effective Lifestyle

Ohboy, the Bicycle House – Built for a Sustainable, Cost-Effective Lifestyle

Ohboy the Bicycle House in Malmö is designed, built and owned by architects Hauschild + Siegel. Owning the process from drawing board to finished product has allowed the architects control the entire concept and ensure it meets their vision of a smarter way to live.

Augustenborg Botanical Roof Garden

Augustenborg Botanical Roof Garden

With its 9500 sqm the Botanical Roof Garden of Augustenborg is an ever-evolving testbed of urban greening. Here you get to see more than 20 different solutions for greening a rooftop, from the most extensive green roofs to biosolar solutions and even a rooftop kitchen garden.

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